Workers Compensation Insurance Company Initially Denies Claim of Man Injured While Risking His Life for Others During Tornado

Joplin, Missouri was destroyed by an EF-5 tornado in late May of this year. The storm resulted in at least 160 deaths and more than 900 injuries in the small town. One of those injured was Mark Lindquist, a social worker who risked his life in an effort to save three developmentally disabled adults during the storm.

On the day of the storm, Lindquist had just driven the three men to a group home when the tornado warning sirens went off. Without any time to carry the men to safety, Lindquist put a mattress over the men and laid on top of it for their added protection.

Lindquist was found after the storm buried in rubble with large chunks of flesh torn off, and impaled by a piece of metal. Mark was in a coma for three days, and the injuries to his body were so severe that it had become swollen and unrecognizable. Lindquist hospital bills totaled more than $2.5 million, and he requires 11 daily prescriptions as a result of the injuries he sustained.

Though this is an amazingly heroic story, Lindquist’s worker’s compensation insurance company, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America was not impressed by Mr. Lindquist’s actions, and initially decided to deny his claim commenting that he was at no greater risk than the general public at the time he was involved in the Joplin tornado.

The Accident’s Fund Insurance Company’s denial of the claim outraged Lindquist, his family, his employer, and even lawmakers. Soon after, the local and national media began to cover the story, and the insurer quickly decided to honor Lindquist’s claim.

Mr. Lindquist said he was thrilled with the news, not just for himself, but for the doctors who saved him. He said of the decision, “I’m happy – it’s a big worry off my mind. I’m glad the doctors are going to get paid because they did such an awesome job with me.” Lindquist had planned on trying to sell his home to pay off some of the bills.

As a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney who has seen insurance companies make the wrong decision in denying claims countless times, I am glad Accident Fund Insurance Company of Americacdecided to do the right thing for Mr. Lindquist. Thankfully the media got involved and put pressure on the company to reevaluate the decision. He is a true hero and to deny his claim would have been a terrible injustice on the part of insurance company.

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